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vvcarpio Jan 30, 2010 4:46 PM

2 Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 HDR Examples
At the time I was choosing which HDR software to buy last year, I remember finding only one example for Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2's "HDR Photo Merge" feature. It wasn't enough to decide on but I bought it anyway during a Black Friday sale.

Today I created the following two examples using Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2's "HDR Photo Merge".

X2's HDR Photo Merge has only 2 controls tone mapping -- Brightness and Clarification. It has a "Suggest" button which when clicked sets values for Brightness and Clarification between 0 and 100. X2 automatically sets the ev value for each exposure.

I think however that the suggested values are a little too bright. I also think that the maximum value of 100 for clarification creates the most dramatic results. But that could just be me. Anyway, that's what I used for the following examples where I didn't take the suggested values.

The first examples are taken at Highland State Park in Scotchtown, NY. They are created from 5 exposures all at f/5.6 and shutter speeds ranging from 1/40 to 1/160.

#1. X2's suggested values: Brightness = 41, Clarification = 24

#2. My custom values: Brightness = 0, Clarification = 100

#3. One of the originals -- the middle exposure

The second examples are pictures of the UN Building in New York City. They are created from 3 exposures at f/5 with speeds ranging from 1/640 to 1/2000.

#4. X2's suggested values: Brightness = 38, Clarification = 34

#5. My custom values: Brightness = 0, Clarification = 100

#6. One of the originals -- the middle exposure.

The only edits I did to the above examples are resize (to 1024 width) and sharpen (all at the same values).

My thoughts are that on the first examples, the original middle exposure, #3, looks better than the 2 HDR edits. With my custom values on #2, the sky looks bluer and therefore better. However it seems to lose color saturation on the grass.

I have to say, however, that there's a slight mis-alignment in at least one of the five original images. I used a tripod when I took them however when I changed settings the camera must have moved. I used X2's "Align" button to align all 5 images. However, I couldn't tell if it did a thorough job.

For the second examples, I think the 2 HDR edits are better than the original. (Except that I may have overdone the sun on #5.)

X2 does not only do HDR unlike, say, Photomatix and Dynamic Photo HDR, but offers a slew of photo editing tools that rival Photoshop's. According to Digital Photography (2008) by Steve Luck, "Paint Shop Pro offers a very high degree of image-editing sophistication, with some features on a par with the full version of Photoshop. ...Photo X2 is a feature-rich software package that is capable of carrying out editing tasks to a high level."

I hope this helps anyone who is considering using X2 to enhance their images.

X3 also just came out. But I don't know if improvements were made to its "HDR Photo Merge".

Your thoughts are welcome!

vvcarpio Jan 30, 2010 8:03 PM

I created this HDR image to show X2 does not have anti-ghosting.

#7. Custom values: Brightness = 0, Clarification = 50

#8. Middle exposure. X2's HDR Photo Merge seems to decrease instead of increase saturation.

Hards80 Jan 30, 2010 8:10 PM

it seemed to handle the tree scene pretty well. but didn't do as well when you moved to the city. the 2nd building has alot of halo'ing. and really the middle exposure looks better than the hdr in the street scene.

i have used photoshops hdr feature as well. it seems to work a bit better than this, but still no where near the results from photomatix or any other standalone hdr software.

which is fine paint shop x2 and photoshop are still great for everything else.

vvcarpio Jan 31, 2010 9:15 AM


Originally Posted by Hards80 (Post 1046330)
which is fine paint shop x2 and photoshop are still great for everything else.

Yes, I first bought X2 because I was already familiar with the old PaintShop Pro (which I found out to be very different) and there are plenty of good "how-to's" on the Internet.

Then I wanted to buy software for my wife to use and being that she already bought books with Photoshop PS & PSE examples, I got her PSE7. I've since been using that, too.

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